Full Steam Ahead

The first item I listed for sale on eBay was an all-in-one printer I had purchased in the throes of thinking I was going to become a mobile notary.  Yeah.  Didn’t happen.  Anyway!  I listed the printer one night and told myself not to get too excited because it might take a while to sell.  I woke up the next morning ready to look at my listing and chanting, “don’t be disappointed . . . don’t be disappointed . . . ” because deep down I was really hoping for a sale.

IT SOLD!  I look back now and see that I underpriced it, but I was glad to get anything back out of this still-in-the-box printer.  I started casually looking around the galactic interwebz for information about selling on eBay and I came across people who claimed to buy stuff at thrift stores and resell them.  I was a disbeliever for a long time – not that I thought these people were lying, but that there were reasons it wouldn’t work for me.  How many endeavors never begin because of the things we tell ourselves?  “Yeah, but they live in a large metropolitan area and I don’t!  I’m sure the Vegas area would never have cool stuff in thrift stores to resell!  They probably don’t have a full-time job like I do!”

I’ll save the details of getting past that for another post.  Today, I will address the question I am asked most about my eBay sales:  How do you know what will sell?  The answer is multifacted, and sometimes the answer is – I don’t!

  1. My parents drug me to antique stores throughout my youth.  I remember my mother frequently showing me things and exclaiming, “This is Blenko!” or “Look at this Wallace Nutting piece!”  So I’ve heard brand names that people (or least my mother) value throughout my life.  I’ve thanked my folks many times for bestowing this knowledge upon me.
  2. I subscribe to Suzanne A. Wells’ eBay blog, on which she frequently relates information about hot-selling items.
  3. I rely heavily on my mobile phone to search eBay sold listings to get a feel for how frequently an item sells and for how much.

The times when I don’t know if something will sell is when I rely on number 3.  The item below is a perfect example.

Mamod Miniature Steam Engine
Mini Steam Engine

I saw this at a Savers store and thought it looked cool and may appeal to steampunk aficianados.  I knew it was vintage-ish and it had a prominent brand name, so I whipped out my cell phone and pulled up eBay to search on the brand name Mamod and look at sold listings.  That’s when I discovered this is a miniature steam engine and they sell pretty frequently and for more than the asking price!  So I snatched that baby up!

So even without antique-mad parents, one can make money reselling thrift store buys on eBay!  Look up every brand name you see on quality-looking items, and soon you’ll get a feel for what people want to buy.  Or you’ll run out of battery.  Or both.  More eBay advice to come in the future.  I’d love to hear your questions and comments.  Thanks for stopping by!

One Hex of a Jewelry Box Makeover

A little background before I unveil the befores and afters – I no longer live in St. Louis.  One random day that pesky straw appeared – you know, the one that broke the camel’s back – and I couldn’t take my job anymore.  I struggled with my decision for a couple of hours, and then I went to my boss and told her that was going to be my last day.  She didn’t try to convince me to stay (which encouraged me to go even more), and just like that – BOOM, unemployed.  But at least I had a chance at remaining however sane I was at that point.

After a few months of desultorily looking for jobs in St. Louis, I decided to radically change my life.  I put my house up for rent, sold most of my possessions, and boomeranged back to Mom and Dad’s house!  My plan is to stay for a while and then buy a tiny house to put in my brother’s backyard.  I have found a wonderful job with less-crazy people, so I’m paying off some bills and making big plans.

And this has to do with a jewelry box makeover . . . how?  Since I made the decision to pare down and eventually go tiny, I have to remind myself not to buy makeover candidates at thrift stores.  One of the hardest parts of selling most of my belongings wasn’t parting with items I loved, it was saying goodbye to the basement full of future projects I’d never gotten around to.  It was really humbling to see all the great ideas I’d once had walk out the door with someone who might turn my great idea into a great finished project.

SO!  I’ve been avoiding “befores” at the thrift store, but I could not pass this one up.  I hope you’ll see why….

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It’s not particularly well-made or anything, I just really loved the simple lines of it and I knew I could give it a new life.  I had a stash of paper hexagons I had punched from some particularly awesome scrapbook paper (I couldn’t let them go in the moving sale!), so I chose a paint color and went to town!

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I couldn’t find the exact drawer pulls I had in mind, so I followed Melissa’s lead over at Polka Dot Chair and headed straight to the button section at Joann.  These little crystal-looking flowers were just the thing!  I wanted to make sure they didn’t flop around on the front of the drawers, though, so I picked up some semi-rigid tubing at Lowe’s and made little sleeves for the buttons to sit in.  Then I fed a wire through the drawer front and secured it inside.

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I’m really happy with the way this project turned out.  If it makes you happy, too, go on over to my etsy shop and buy it!  Thanks for stopping by!

 
I linked this project up at:

Try it - Like it

I Wish Everything Was In 3-D

The title today is brought to you courtesy of my dad’s former coworker. Kinda makes your head hurt, doesn’t it?

I’ll tell you what made MY head hurt – spray painting this thrift store cabinet! I had it in a box so I could paint it in the basement and thought I could just shoot one side and then the other after I removed the back. Well, that was a pipe dream, my friends. I smugly “shot one side and then the other” and then I looked at it from another angle and realized that entire planes were still bare. There was a lot of leaning (the cabinet and myself) and spraying and leaning and spraying after that discovery….

The back of the cabinet was easier to deal with. I just turned to my trusty Mod Podge and adhered this fabulous fabric to the hardboard that was behind the mirror of the “before” cabinet. After a trim and a coat of Mod Podge over the top of the fabric, it was ready to get remarried to the shelf section. So much easier working in one dimension!

I almost replaced the knob on this one as I did on the gray and yellow cabinet, but once I got it all back together I found I actually liked the original pull. And saving a couple bucks never feels bad!

I hope you like this makeover – I never get tired of doing these cabinets because they’re small enough to maneuver without help but I think they make a big impact. If you’d like this kind of impact in your home, this cabinet is for sale in my etsy shop!

Thanks for stopping by!

Who’s Your (Fry) Daddy

I mean no patriarchal disrespect when I say this, but nobody needs their daddy around anymore. Not with all the bad news out there about the evils of cholesterol and deep-frying. Oh! I meant to say nobody needs their FRY Daddy around anymore.

I’ve never been much of a deep-fryer person anyway – every time I attempt it, everything in my house (clothes for work the next day) ends up smelling like a greasy strip mall Chinese restaurant. So I didn’t have a Fry Daddy to dismantle, but somebody did and this fry basket ended up at the thrift store.

I grabbed it with a light fixture project in mind, thinking I might stick something in those holes or hang something beaded off of them. But the longer I had it, the more its industrial vibe spoke to me and I decided to go a more purist route. All it took was some spray paint (of course), tin snips, and a light kit from Cost Plus World Market.


If you insist on keeping your Fry Daddy intact, you can purchase this light fixture in my etsy shop! Hope you like it and thanks for stopping by!

I linked this project up at:

DIY Show Off

Read more at http://diyshowoff.com/2013/11/10/that-diy-party-42/#zVc44gcySUZXJ3Zz.99

Reflections of the Past

Geez, that title probably made you think you were going to see some kind of Lifetime for Women movie, didn’t it?

Well, I’m happy to say that’s not the case (or sorry to disappoint, depending upon your feelings about Lifetime…it DOES have Project Runway going for it)!  This is a post about mirrors.  See what I did there?

I found a set of four Burwood pictures at the thrift store.  Only three of them would fit in the frame for these pictures, but rest assured, they all came out the same.  I LOVED the shape of the frames, but the finish on them was hideous, as Burwood/Syroco/Home Decorators vintage items usually is.  And the “artwork”…?  Ahem.

Can ya guess what I did?  Of course you can.  I painted them.  And, after nearly severing a digit while trying to do it myself, I had a glass shop cut some mirrors to fit and glue them in place of those sad, 70’s butterflies.  This all happened about four years ago and I still love them just as much!  I hope you like them, too.  Thanks for stopping by!

I linked this project up at

DIY Show Off

Read more at http://diyshowoff.com/2013/10/06/that-diy-party-37/#8tiwySeCxXhDtBoh.99

I’ve been posting . . . Periodically!

This is an oldie but a goodie.  At one point in time a few years ago, I was in search of a new coffee table.  It struck me at the time how boring most coffee tables are, and the ones that aren’t boring are usually hideous.  Neither option appealed to me or my living room decor!

So I got to thinking about making a unique coffee table and I just couldn’t stop thinking “Periodic Table.”  I considered creating a coffee table with the standard-issue chemistry class periodic table, but then I stumbled across this GENIUS project:  http://azuregrackle.com/periodictable/table/, and I knew immediately what I would do.  I tracked down a super-boring but high quality oak coffee table and used paint, paper, and Mod Podge to transform it into my own Periodic Coffee Table of the Elements.  Behold!

And here are a few closeups of my favorite elements (well, not favorite ELEMENTS, because I love all the elements equally [doesn’t everybody?], but my favorite PRINTS of the elements):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the interest of education, I’ll leave it to you to discover what the more cryptic of these elements are.  Please visit the project website, too, for more information:  http://azuregrackle.com/periodictable/table/.  I believe they may even sell prints of certain of the elements.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

You’ve Got Mail

Collections are dangerous things.  They can push you precariously close to hoarding status, as well as bankruptcy, especially if you choose to collect something like Faberge eggs!  Holidays and birthdays are dangerous territory also, when your well-meaning friends and relatives give you items that they’re just sure “will be great in your collection!” but that you NEVER would have purchased yourself, collector or no.  It can be dicey!   

I’ve been pretty lucky and careful in my collecting life.  I can usually tell when it gets to the tipping point of buying for quantity versus quality of the collection, and I can rein myself in, in most cases.  One of those cases is my vintage mailbox collection.

Snail mail has always been a love of mine, starting back when it was just known as “mail.”  I love the look of stamps and postmarks and most things postal (except “going postal,” of course, to which I am opposed).  Years ago, just because it was cool looking, I bought a glass mailbox that has “Visual Mail” embossed on the front.  Little did I know it was a collection seed!

Most of my collection today resides in my small entryway, hanging on corrugated metal (another love of mine) within a homemade frame.  Yesterday, I finally got my entryway painted and am no longer ashamed to post pictures of it!  Behold!

Here are a few closeups of my favorite bits and pieces:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The quail were thrift store finds, and they are salt and pepper shakers.  I think they single-handedly created the blood pressure problem in this country, because they are huge!  They could each hold about half of a salt container!  Perhaps we could just say they’re efficient, because you’d only have to refill them once a year.  Maybe you could even develop an annual family ritual – The Filling of the Quail.

I love the designs on the feathers and of course the plumes on their heads are awesome!

I have a few other mailboxes that may end up on a different wall.  One of my favorites was a gift from my parents, which was a homemade job that reads “We Shoot Every Third Salesman.  The Second One Just Left.”  Ha!  A simple No Soliciting sign would have sufficed!

Well, thanks for stopping by!  I hope your Spring is happy, healthy, and productive.

I’ll Get the Chair for This

Can you keep a secret?  I mean, really, like not tell ANYONE?  Cuz it looks like I may have committed a crime and I have to get it off my chest.  Can I trust you?

Oh geez, put the phone down, I’m just talking about a design crime.  And no jury in the world would convict me after it sees the evidence!  I’ll leave it up to you.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present to you Exhibit One:

An unassuming chair that had seen better days, but with fine lines and a proud lineage.

Suspecting a design icon in the rough, Ms. Palooza purchased this chair for the (what should probably also be criminal!) low price of $7.00 and spirited it away to a location she refers to as Craft Purgatory.  Ominous, no?

Her internet research turned up a very similar specimen, designated as a Saarinen office chair by Knoll.

However, the chair in her possession bore a brand name of Virco and had only four casters, not five.  Additionally, when Ms. Palooza viciously tore into the chair with a screwdriver and pliers, this is what she found:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The chair literally fell apart in her hands and spewed ancient upholstery foam debris (see second picture above) throughout her house.  After a halfhearted attempt at DIY upholstery, Ms. Palooza had it professionally reupholstered and now it looks like this!

Here endeth the Perry Mason (yes, I am 67 years old) bit.

So I bought this chair at a thrift store and it was disgusting.  I tell myself it’s a Saarinen knockoff so I can sleep at night, but I know there are design purists out there who are probably crying, “Sacrilege!”  In any case, I think it looks great!  i’d love to hear what you think, even if it involves design prison!

Thanks for stopping by!

Daydream Believer

When I need a mindless websurfing target, Craigslist is a favorite.  I like to pretend that I have an enormous climate-controlled workshop, an endless supply of cash, and an insanely popular brick-and-mortar shop, and I consider the transformations I would perform on the listings under the Furniture For Sale section.  Make no mistake – some of the listings make me daydream about a large bucket to heave into.  But some of them are real gems, real cheap!

Before we go any further, though, I have a warrant to serve from the Grammar Police.  The following seem to be frequent infractions on Craigslist, so I want to warn any of my fellow officers to gird your loins before you go a-surfing.

It’s WROUGHT iron, people!  Not ROD iron, or worse, ROT iron!

They’re called DRAWERS, not DRAWS!

The other side of that coin:  it’s a chest OF drawers, not a CHESTER DRAWERS!

I could go on for pages, but I’ll spare you any further tirade.  It’s my personal burden to bear . . . .

On to the furniture!  Here are a few examples from the Las Vegas craigslist website and what I dream of doing to them (that sounds naughty!):

This headboard is just begging for some paint.  I think you’ll find that’s a common thread in all my Craigslist daydreams.  Seriously, though, can’t you imagine glossy white paint on this?  Or a gorgeous turquoise (I don’t care if it is played out)?  Lime green, hot pink, glossy black – any of these would be gorgeous on these curves.  Not all at the same time, though; we’re going for hip and cool, not insomnia-inducing.

This set would also receive some latex loving.  I think it would be great in a deep gray, with a bright, funky fabric on the chair.  I would try painting or Rub-and-Buffing the current drawer handles silver.  Sigh…I’m imagining penning a note to Mr. Darcy at this little number.

Oops, I went a little Pride and Prejudice on ya for a second!  🙂

I’m not usually a fan of brass-type beds, but this one has just enough spunk for me.  I would (of course) paint it, but first I would find a funky-cool quilt that would go on it and choose one of the colors in the quilt to use on it.  Something Garnet Hill-ish or Anthropologie would do nicely.  Like a quilt with aqua, orange, hot pink, and lime green, and paint this headboard glossy orange.  Yes!

This chair is just unusual enough to have me intrigued.  First I would do a little research on it to see if I could live with myself after painting it.  If it’s a rare or significant piece, I would probably leave it as is and just put it up for sale in my (imaginary) resale shop.  However, if it’s a post-acid trip creation from 1973, I would paint it glossy white or aqua with a bright fabric on the seat; I’m sure Amy Butler has a design that would work well!  Are you sensing a theme?  “Paint, apply bright fabric, rinse, repeat.”

The detail on this headboard would look AWESOME with a cool paint job.  Maybe bright yellow…?  I know a lot of people use distressing and/or wax or glazes to highlight details like this, and I think that looks good if done sparingly.  I have yet to try it myself, but if I had that workshop, who knows what techniques I’d try!

The beauty of this chair is that it looks to be in great shape and would also be a cinch to upholster.  A cinch, I tell you!  Plus, this style of chair would fit in almost any but the most modern of rooms.  Even without any tweaking it could play a respectable supporting role in an eclectic living room or bedroom, but I’ve got this giant workshop and nothing but cash and time on my hands, right?  A girl can dream….

See previous brass/wrought iron bed.  Oooo, how about painting it a bright coral color?

Okay, up until now, the items I’ve shown were below $100 each, which makes them steals in my book.  The next photo is kind of a red herring because it’s not only way out of that price range at $400, it’s also not something I would come NEAR with a paintbrush!  Feast your eyes on this baby:

Do you hear angels singing?  I sure do.  Heavy                heavy                SIGH.  Gorgeous.

Well, I hope you don’t think I cheated by not actually (re)DOING anything for today’s blog post, but I just wanted to share my Craigslist lust (Craigslust?) with you guys!  These pictures all came from posts on Las Vegas Craigslist, and I’ll be glad to forward the links to anyone interested.  If you buy the yellow chair, can I come over and soak in its aura?

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Green with Amy

One of my favorite ways to start a project is with a piece that’s already not hideous.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s fun to take a crime against humanity and attempt a reformation on it.  I mean, there’s nowhere to go but up in those cases, and if I screw it up, I haven’t committed some mortal decor sin.  But the ante is upped when I come across a little item like this set of shelves, that is already pretty cute by itself:

But I couldn’t leave well enough alone, now could I?  What kind of blog would this be if I didn’t do anything to gems such as this?  It would be a shopping blog.  And frankly, I can’t muster up much more than “Look what I bought!” when it comes to writing about shopping, so lucky for all of us, I went to town on this bad boy!

I’ve been painting by hand lately and I’m kind of liking it.  Please don’t tell spray paint that I’m seeing paint in a can on the side, but we’ve got something special, I think.  I feel more connected to pieces that I paint by hand, and I don’t look like a doorknob, standing in my garage in my spray painting getup for all the world to see.  Spray painting getup = flannel pants, sweatshirt, slippers, crazy morning hair, and mask.  I think it’s the reason I don’t know any of my neighbors…!

At any rate, I painted these shelves “Gilded Pesto” by Valspar and then introduced them to Amy Butler in the form of scrapbook paper.  Of course, our friend Mod Podge came to the party, sealing the paper on the back of each shelf.  Et voila!

And then we had a couple knickknacks get in on the action:  my little Asian guy who is a salt shaker without his mate (I wonder if he was seeing Cayenne on the side and Black Pepper ditched him!), and a singing bowl.  If you’ve never seen or heard a singing bowl, I highly recommend them.  I love to just close my eyes, strike the bowl, and listen to the ringing, which will go on what seems like forever.  It’s very soothing!  And decorative!  🙂

I like to think I improved upon an already cute little set of shelves.  They didn’t need much help and easily could have gone other design directions (shabby chic, anyone?  Or shabby “sheik,” as I saw it referred to recently?!), but I am of the opinion that adding Amy Butler to a project is always a step in the right direction!

Thanks for stopping by!